Why this is important?
When two people enter into a relationship, a set of rules emerges. It’s important to have ground rules that help people navigate the many challenges life throws at us. For most people, family relationships create a blueprint that determines how we relate to others. The quality of the relationship between father and mother has a great impact on the quality of the relationship their children have with their friends. The same is true in selling. The quality of your relationship with your sales manager has an impact on your professional growth, and it also can impact the quality of your relationships with your customers.
Many salespeople talk about how important relationships are in selling, yet there is very little research on this subject. I recently had a conversation with Ron Gajewski, a senior consultant of the Dallas-based research firm Beyond ROI. Ron shared a number of insights (the first four items in the list below) that led me to expand on his thinking.
Below is a checklist that may help sales managers think about how their behaviors impact their relationships with their salespeople. If you are a salesperson, use this checklist and assess your manager. Then ask your sales manager to take the same assessment and discuss a) what points you agree on and b) what points you want to improve on. It should make for an interesting conversation.
1) Connection: Do you have a real sense of connection with your sales manager? Does he or she know about your life, passions, and history outside of work? Or…is your manager all business?
2) Commitment: Do you feel your manager is actually committed to helping you grow and be successful? Or…do you get the sense your manager is simply using you to make the numbers?
3) Trust: Do you fully trust your manager’s guidance and ideas? Or…do you sense your manager is out of touch with your situation and clients?
4) Relevance: Are you successful in your role because of your manager? Or…are you successful in spite of your manager? Is the relationship key to your success?
5) Autonomy: Is your manager taking over on joint calls, trying to close the sale for you? Or…does your manager give you enough leeway that you feel you are in charge of the call?
6) Respect: Is your manager respectful when he or she gets upset about a problem that has come up with a customer? Or…does your manager berate you, belittle you, or insult your intelligence?
7) Guidance: Is your manager constructive and instructive when you ask for his or her help? Or…does your manager brush you off with platitudes?
8) Praise: Does your manager have a habit of recognizing your achievements by praising you in public? Or…do you sometimes wonder if the manager knows that you exist?
9) Fairness: Is your manager fair and evenhanded when it comes to making decisions that impact rewards, compensation, promotions, hiring, and firing? Or…do you sometimes wish for a better manager?
10) Challenge: Does your manager challenge your abilities and ambitions so that you continue to reach higher levels of performance that you never thought you could reach on your own? Or…do you feel that your manager knows little of your talents and capabilities?
Please share your feedback. How did you do? Are you really good at creating successful relationships? If you are, please share your insights.
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